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Woman was ‘hostage’ in Launceston siege

A woman’s life was in “grave danger” during a siege with a man that lasted more than 16 hours at a house in northern Tasmania, police say.

The man, 24, and woman, 40, were taken into custody on Saturday morning after barricading themselves in a Launceston home with a gun.

Commander Brett Smith said the siege turned into a hostage situation during negotiations with the pair.

“The dialogue was such that we strongly believed that woman’s life was in imminent danger,” he told reporters in Launceston.

“The situation changed to what we believe became a hostage-siege situation. We felt that the woman’s life was in grave danger.”

The two people were safely taken into custody about 9.50am after police implemented a “tactical resolutions strategy” at the property at New World Avenue in Trevallyn.

Cmdr Smith said there was “some resistance” from the man when police apprehended him.

No was one injured.

“Police risked their lives to save the life of another person and they should be commended for their bravery,” he said.

The stand-off began about 4pm on Friday when police went to the home as part of an ongoing investigation.

Cmdr Smith said around 40 gunshots were discharged across the siege but police were investigating who fired them.

No shots were fired by police.

“Since we last spoke at 7.30 this morning, there were other shots discharged from the residence. By whom we’re not sure at this stage,” he said.

A range of specialty units were deployed to provide front-line support, including members of the Special Operations Group and the bomb response group.

Up to 38 police were on the ground at any one time and 14 nearby residents had to be evacuated.

“Our best efforts are always focused towards a resolution as quickly as possible but sometimes it takes a while for people involved in these situations to see common sense,” Cmdr Smith said.

The police commander thanked the Trevallyn community and reassured residents their suburb will be “returned to normality” shortly.

Cmdr Smith confirmed a woman – not the one involved in the siege – was shot in the leg at the same home on Wednesday.

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